The human body: An inspiring biological work of art? Or a meaty sack of germs and fluids? Either way, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what goes on in there — and scientists are constantly attempting to find out more. Here are the most interesting things we found out about our bodies in the last seven days.
Surgeons Want to Stick You Back Together With Slug Mucous
The “Dusky Arion” slug — a 2-inch long, brown sack of goo, commonly found in Europe — secretes a form of defensive slime that’s apparently three times stronger than any current medical adhesive. Experts believe that a refined version of the gunk could become a standard part of the surgeon’s toolkit one day, since not only does it excel at sticking two damp surfaces together (normally a very tricky proposition), it also has shock-absorbing properties that stop the wound from pulling apart. Researchers at Harvard recently used the stuff to seal up a hole in a pig’s heart, so it may not be long before it oozes its way into an operating room near you.
Birthday Cakes Have 1,400 Percent More Germs After You Spit All Over Them, Er, Blow Out Your Candles
Did we all assume that letting a 6-year-old blow out their birthday candles over several saliva-drenched attempts would probably mean there were a few germs on the cake? Yes. Did any of us have any idea that it would be this many? Gotta say, no. The takeaway here is that if you use those trick reigniting candles, you’re essentially turning that cake into a biological weapon.
The Number of Blind People in the World Will Triple By 2050…
…is a scary headline that a lot of people are using this week, even though what the studies actually show is just the fact that more people are living longer and old people tend to have bad eyesight. Next!
Obese People Have a “Switch” in Their Brain That Can’t Be Turned Off
According to an Australian study, obese people’s brains aren’t able to regulate what happens to their fat due to a switch-like mechanism failing to turn off at the appropriate time. This means that their bodies are constantly in a state where they’re storing fat, rather than switching between storing fat and burning it off, the way a regular body does. A cure for this, they say, is “a long way off.” Bummer.
Spanking Is Terrible for Your Children and Can Mess Them Up for Life (Who’d Have Thought?)
While many studies have found a link between acting violently toward a child and that child behaving violently in turn, most have focused on the short term. A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, though, claims that these effects — which include aggressive and delinquent behavior, irritability and a lower likelihood of acting helpfully toward others — can last at least 10 years, possibly much longer. So there’s yet another reason you can legitimately blame all your problems on your parents.
Drinking Booze Can Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Spin that “Alcohol is good/bad for you” wheel again: This week, a study claims that people who drink three or four times a week — especially wine! — are less likely to get the disease than non-drinkers. Tune in next week, when we will no doubt be reporting that drinking three or four times a week — especially wine! — will give you explosive brain hemorrhoids.